09 April 2013

Holi Hell!

Requisite Holi selfie.

Last week Kathmandu went mad (more than usual) for one soggy afternoon - Holi!

Holi is the Hindu Festival of Colours that is celebrated in India and Nepal to venerate Vishnu on the eve of Spring. The cold, dry Winter is ending and the lush tropical heat of Spring and Summer is about to begin and a bit of madness and, yes, (groan) beauty is in the air. Children and adults alike douse each other with water and throw handfuls of technicolour tikka powder into the air with wild abandon.

I haven't partied with so many baggies of powder since I was 22.

My neighbourhood was redolent with the blossoms of blooming jasmine as I stepped out of my apartment on the morning of Holi. I was armed with a backpack super soaker and dressed in my cleanest whites (as is the custom - all the better to see the powder!) as I dodged water balloons and made my way toward a huge party at 1905, a renovated (ish) manor home built at the turn of the last century. 1905 is legendary amongst expats and Nepalis alike for its fantastic late night parties (3am seems like a godsend in a country where bars are forced to close at 11pm) and its Saturday Farmers Market, and I had heard that they throw one hell of a Holi party. 

I heard correctly. 

I could hear the pounding boom of dubstep from blocks away, and when I entered the courtyard I was blown away - at least five hundred Nepalis and expats were packed onto the dancefloor, shaking their asses  under the spray of dozens of sprinklers. A rainbow of coloured powder seemed to hang suspended in the misty air and everyone had a beer in their hand despite the fact it was just past noon.

I pretty sure I saw the Venga Bus pull up outside.

The party was the hottest event in town, so much so that not all of my friends could get inside. I cracked my knuckles, batted my lash extensions and used the doorman-wooing skills I acquired as a hot electroclash mess in my early twenties. Miraculously, it worked and before long my nearest and dearest Kathmandu buddies were inside the gates and ready for an adult waterfight that eventually included water from the nearby ponds (*shudder*).

 Holi Moly.
The whole day was a debauched, hallucinatory blur - equal parts Holy Mountain, All Summer in a Day and Lollapalooza 94 when everyone's Punky Colours hairdye would drip down their face after getting soaked in the moshpit. Despite looking like the victim of a Carebear bukkake attack, I was pleasantly buzzed on a weekday afternoon and dancing in the sunshine with my similarly hued friends. The best part about it? I was home, showered and (mostly) sober by 7pm.

Til next year, Happy Holi!

My colleague Romeo and I enjoy a hard day at the office.


Pat said...

That sounds like so much fun! Love the photos! :)

SwedeV said...

Carebear bukkake attack !

It looks fantasticly fun! The photos are awesome!

Jo Clarke said...

Ha ha there's my daughter Kelly and her partner Matt